Brussels – A research project co-ordinated by Michelin could “revolutionise” end-of-life ELT recycling, a meeting of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) Tyres & Rubber Committee was told.
The comment by committee chairman Max Craipeau of China-based Greencore Resources Ltd followed a presentation by Michaël Cogne, research programme manager for BlackCycle at Michelin.
The €16-million project has seven industrial partners, five research and technological bodies and an innovation cluster. Specialisms include: tire collection; granulation; pyrolysis; transformation of pyrolytic oil into more valuable materials and carbon black manufacture.
According to Cogne, the target with BlackCycle is to address recovered carbon black and pyrolytic oil in parallel “to find the best way to valorise everything to a good level of performance.”
Chemical competencies would be used to refine oils to create a desirable feedstock for the manufacture of carbon black, Cogne pointed out.
“With the full value chain, you have a good chance to valorise all the outputs for use in “high-value applications”, added the programme manager, describing the research as a potential “game-changer” for used tires.
For Craipeau, a key aspect of the initiative is that ELT collectors, granulators and tire deconstructors would “still have a major role to play in the industry as providers of added-value feedstock.”
This would apply even to small and medium-sized recyclers, enabling them to continue to use existing equipment, the BIR committee chairman also noted.
Webinar panellist Martin von Wolfersdorff of Wolfersdorff Consulting of Berlin, estimated that recovered carbon black production of around 400 kilotonnes per annum could be achieved by 2030 if every second European tire were recycled in the BlackCycle system.
Von Wolfersdorff was also impressed by the “all-star cast” gathered by Michelin, as well as by the “deep integration” of the research venture, noted a 20 Oct BIR press statement about the webinar presentation.